The next day, everyone in the castle was up bright and early. Everyone wanted to get started decorating for the happy event. The castle’s butlers and maids got to work cleaning the windows and sweeping the floors to make sure they were extra clean. The royal cooks began to cook up a feast fit for twenty kings. The head chief wanted to back a cake big enough for ten dragons as he said. Josun couldn’t even imagine something that big.
As for Josun and Saurina, the royal tailors kept them away to work on their wedding clothes. Each of them had to be measured to see how big their clothes needed to be. They wanted to use the finest material they had to make the wedding clothes. Josun was fine using his regular clothes, but said nothing, knowing that it would offend the servants if they weren’t allowed to work.
After they were done measuring him, they sent him off so they could begin working on designing the outfit. Josun went to the dueling room inside the castle where he could practice his swordplay. Many knights of Bylouth were there, working on perfecting their skills or training their squires. Some of the squires were having trouble keeping their weapons in their hands, so someone usually ended up with a dent in their armor or a piece of their tunic cut off.
“Josun!” One of the knights called out when they spotted him. “What can we do for you?”
“Just here to practice.” Josun said. Reaching down his belt, he pulled up his sword Vedion. As soon as it was out of its sheath, the silver blade gave off its glow that made people reflect on their lives and things they would like to change. Holding the golden hilt, Josun began to practice on a wooden dummy in the corner.
Whenever Josun held Vedion, he felt the responsibility of having so powerful a weapon in his hands. He remembered the legends of how Vedion was used by kings in the old days before it was hidden by the Maiden of Melodies. There were those who would love to use the sword for their own evil purposes, but Vedion would not be used by someone with dark intentions. Josun always hoped that he would be able to resist the temptation to use the blade for himself and his own gain.
Josun quickly shook the thoughts from his head. If he dwelt on such fears, they would surely become a reality. Besides, the wizard Ipurv had said to him many times that if he would not be worthy at a later time, then the sword would not have chosen him at all. He must never let such worries keep him from drawing the sword. He had seen what had happened to a satyr who wasn’t worthy to use the sword, and not once had it happened to him. Nothing should make him think otherwise, as Ipurv would tell him.
Swinging the sword around one last time, Josun sent the arms of the dummy spinning around, the dull metal flying out from its hands and all the way to the door. Clapping caught Josun by surprise as he turned around and saw a young boy a few years younger than him standing there.
“Well done!” The boy said as he came up to Josun. “One of the best practices I’ve ever seen.”
“Thank you, sir…” Josun said, not knowing who this person was. He had light brown hair and a friendly look to him.
“Oh, it’s Grythod, sir.” Grythod introduced himself. “I’m your new page.”
“My page?” Josun asked as he sheathed Vedion.
“Yes. I am honored to be able to learn from you.”
“Oh. Well, I am honored to be able to teach you. I was just finishing up.”
“Does that mean that you’re about to leave?” Grythod asked with a disappointing look coming across his face.
“No. If you want we can begin right now.” Josun’s response brightened up Grythod’s face. He hurried to the wall and grabbed some of the wooden swords to practice with. When he brought them over Josun he took one of them and stood at the ready. When Grythod held up his wooden sword they began with some of the basic tactics for sword wielding. Grythod was not very experienced because in a few swipes he had been disarmed.
“It’s okay Grythod. It’ll take practice.” Josun said. “Try again.”
This practice went on for a while. Grythod kept working hard and Josun could see he was getting better the more they practiced. Josun wondered if any of his ancestors had been warriors. Yes Grythod wasn’t a professional and didn’t show any skill right now, yet there was something about him that said he could become great.
It was an hour later when Josun had finished working with Grythod. Replacing the swords he moved out into the castle to see what Saurina was doing. She wasn’t in her room or out in the garden, so he decided to check the library. She was there reading a book about the legacy of the husaurs, which she now spent more time in than any other book in the library. Josun admitted he like The Adventures of Titlonius, a husaur who had stopped the invasion of barbarians in the land.
“Oh, Josun, I didn’t hear you come in.” Saurina said as she looked up from her book.
“Well, this place is filled with books. Maybe they silenced my footsteps.” Josun joked.
Saurina smiled. “Probably. There’s a lot that’s hidden in here. I doubt even Ipurv has read all the titles that we keep in here.” She said.
“Wouldn’t surprise me. Your father said all the kings have been adding to the collection.”
“At least we don’t have to worry about unexpected surpri—what was that?” She asked as they heard a loud boom. Standing up, the princess ran out of the library followed by Josun. In the hall, they saw many of the nights from the dueling room running in the direction of the entrance. They tried to ask what was going on, but nobody answered them. Finally they decided to follow everyone to see what the cause was.
As soon as the doors came into view, Saurina let out a gasp. The immense wooden doors looked as if several cannons and a battering ram had forced them open, because they were split and heavily cracked. All around the door laid knights who looked as if they had been hit by dragon shields. In the middle of the entryway a man stood fighting off the incoming knights. He had on a black cloak with the hood pulled down to show he looked middle age with messy brown hair and a serious expression. His wooden staff withstood the blows of the knights swords and constantly shot out beams of magic that knocked them back.
“What is going on here?” King Ifen demanded to know as he came down the stairs. As soon as he saw the scattered warriors and the warlock, he paled as if he had met this person before. Queen Arias was not far behind him, and she gasped as she saw who it was.
“So after all these years you do remember.” The wizard said when he gazed upon them. Holding his staff high, he proclaimed, “It is I, Jerith, Head Sage of the Council of Magic, conqueror of the barbarian thylls, and the soon-to-be husband of the princess Saurina!”